matter what the genre, when the Shaw Bros' moniker appears at the
beginning of a film, you know you're in for a one of a kind experience.
Infra-Man (1975) is no exception. Though clearly inspired
by the long running Japanese TV show Ultraman, Infra-Man
goes far beyond mere imitation. It's colorfully frenetic and matchless
in its energy. A thrill ride that is one of a kind. It's strange!
It's amazing! It's Shaw-tastic!
action starts right away when a van filled with children is rocked
by a dragon that lands on the road in front of them. The dragon
vanishes as the asphalt crumbles away, leaving the kids only moments
to escape before the van tumbles down a cliff.
bursts into flame! The fire, panic and destruction engulf helpless
citizenry. Heroic Science Patrolman Rayma (Li Hsui-Hsien/Danny Lee
who also stars in the CCT favorite The Mighty Peeking Man,
1977) busily rescues children from burning buildings.
Chang arrives at Science Patrol Headquarters where he is questioned
by reporters about the recent disasters. They should question the
toupé he's wearing; it's a fashion disaster. Inside Science
Patrol Headquarters, the Professor checks various high tech consoles
that flash and beep. He asses the situation with members of the
Science Patrol team who are dressed in futuristic silver lamé
an earthquake shakes headquarters, a transmission comes through
on their observation screens. The hideous dragon face of their attacker
morphs into the visage of Princess Dragon Mom, perhaps the strangest
and most outrageous villainess in cinema history. The Princess,
an ancient creature with designs on ruling the planet, is played
by Terry Liu who is outfitted in a golden helmet with matching breastplate,
a dragon whip, and a less than convincing blonde wig. Kudos should
also be given to whoever dubbed the actress. In her utterly unique
rapid-fire accent, she delivers this message, "Greetings to
you earthlings, I am Princess Dragon Mom (she pronounces it without
syllables Princessdragonmom) I have taken over this planet.
Now I own the earth and you'll be my slaves for all eternity. The
disasters you experienced are just small examples of our great power.
Either surrender to me or I'll destroy all humans. I have spoken.
It's all the warning you're going to get from me
professor attends a meeting of government officials, where the chairman
states that, "The situation at this time is so serious, that
it is the worst in human history." The worst ever? Wow, that
is pretty bad.
professor hypothesizes that Princess Dragon Mom and her monsters
have been in hibernation. "They are intelligent. They're smarter
than our most up-to-date super computers. We cannot underestimate
Chang enlists the heroic Rayma for a dangerous experiment. In his
underground lab, which is filled with even more "high-tech"
equipment, the Professor explains the process of changing a man
into the super robotic Infra-Man, "adrenaline will be injected
into him, he will be powered by a miniature nuclear reactor. Rayma,
you'll have to go through the sufferings of hell."
I'm prepared to die to save mankind. I am ready." Rayma is
laid out on a table and the infra-process begins.
her mountain side lair, the Princess cracks her whip to assemble
her monsters. In role call fashion, each demon (kung fu stuntmen
in zany rubber monster suits) appears, jumping and shouting, ready
to fight. Princess Dragon Mom sends her first two mutants to attack
Science Patrol Headquarters. Nemesis, a rock creature with a bad
attitude, kidnaps unsuspecting Science Patrol member Tu Ming by
flipping his VW Bug. A plant monster burrows into the ground underneath
Science Patrol Headquarters and sprouts giant plant tentacles that
delicate process of creating Infra-Man continues as the professor
lays in transistors and wiring. Rayma's life hangs in the balance
when the electricity is knocked out by the attacking philodendron.
When the power is finally restored the fusion of man and machine
is complete. "Rayma," the Professor announces, "you
are now Infra-Man."
his spiffy silver and red leather super suit, Rayma springs forth
from the table in a series of acrobatic flips that are accompanied
by infra-sound effects. Infra-Man launches into action by hacking
away at the giant tentacles in an attempt to prune back the attacking
plant. Burning acid spews forth from the pruned limbs which quickly
grow back. Infra-Man gets to the heart of the matter by using his
infra-darts. This stuns the creature back to normal size and a kung
fu fight ensues.
uses his strength to toss the plant into a nearby forest where the
fight continues with wild wire work and acrobatics. Infra-man eventually
triumphs by cornering the plant monster and using his infra-ray
to turn him into a charred pile of mulch.
by enthusiastic monsters, Tu Ming is held captive deep inside Princess
Dragon Mom's lair. "Tu Ming, you will do as I say or you will
be dropped into a bottomless pit." Poor guy, what kind of choice
is that? She Demon, the girl monster with claws and hypnotic eyeballs
in the palms of her hands, straps Tu Ming into a brain washing machine
that fries his mind.
his first successful battle, the Professor informs Rayma that he
has used only a fraction of his power. "There are other weapons
I haven't given you as yet. For success it's essential that you
have thunder ball fists."
can have such a thing?"
right. Thunder ball fists."
Ming returns to Science Patrol Headquarters where no one seems too
concerned with his deathly pallor or the dark circles under his
green zombified eyes. Tu Ming stuns a guard and gains access to
the Professor's quarters. He steals the Infra-Man blueprints and
is chased to a remote area outside of town where Rayma and other
silver clad Science Patrol members do battle with the boisterous
bug monster and the Princess' skull guards. Amid all the chop sockey
action, bug guy uses power spit pellets that explode and encapsulate
the victim in a web ball. Rayma transforms into Infra-Man, using
his karate skills and lasers to battle the bug.
destroy all of you!" the bug shouts as he grows into a gigantic
insect. Infra-Man uses his infra-grow to combat the threat. This
effect is achieved with "in-camera" optical effects. In
fact, it appears that most of the visuals (with the exception of
lasers that were added later) were practical effects created on
set. Infra-man wins the giant battle by forcing the monster to return
to normal size and literally squashing him like a bug.
the professor's dopey children play in a cave, they overhear Tu
Ming and Nemesis plotting to blow up Science Headquarters. The kids
are captured but are rescued by Infra-Man who quickly disposes of
completing work on Infra-Man's thunder ball fists, the Professor
retires to his room for the evening. The action comes to a dead
halt while the Professor spends some quality time with his teenage
daughter Mei-Mei. Thankfully things get rolling again when Nemesis
and Tu Ming kidnap her. The professor is brought to the island fortress
where the Princess holds court in her control room. "The life
of your daughter is going to depend completely on your cooperation."
To prove she means business, she drops Tu Ming into a volcanic pit,
"That was the end of Ming. Your daughter will also be dropped
into the pit of fire and her body will also become ashes unless
you do whatever I order! In ten seconds I want an answer!"
The Professor knows that Infra-Man will save them from destruction,
but the Princess has other plans for our nuclear powered hero.
already know how Infra-Man gets his power from the sun and so I
intend to blow out clouds into the atmosphere. These clouds will
block the sun, his power will rundown. Then the earth will be all
mine!" Never let it be said that the Princess doesn't come
up with original plans of world domination.
arrives at the southwestern inspired (sun bleached skulls are the
dominate décor) entrance of princess Dragon Mom's lair. An
energetically choreographed fight ensues with countless skull troops.
Its kung fu bedlam when growling Nemesis joins the fray as the rest
of the Science Patrol arrives. Rayma attempts to enter the stronghold
but is stopped by Nemesis and the fire-breathing scaly monster.
Our hero is seriously getting his butt kicked until he wisely does
some back flips and transforms into Infra-Man. An intricate dance
of kicks and punches is interrupted by Princess Dragon Mom who pumps
black smoke into the air.
is overjoyed, "HA! The sun is blocked! Now he's helpless, come
on, let's finish him off!" Infra-Man does away with both monsters
with a powerful fireworks fueled kick of his infra-boots.
his weakened state, Princess Dragon Mom is able to capture him.
"Infra-Man you're now my prisoner but now I will destroy you,
yes you'll melt in six thousand degrees of heat!" The Princess
has an affinity for long declarative statements and run-on sentences.
At any rate, she sends our hero plummeting to his doom. When the
Professor refuses to build a new evil Infra-Man, the Princess places
him and his daughter into deep freeze.
are looking pretty grim, but Infra-Man evades his fiery fate and
battles more skull troops. When She-Demon joins in, Infra-Man uses
his infra-blades to sever her deadly hands. With a well placed kick
she goes tumbling into the fiery pit.
Dragon Mom wields her deadly dragon whip alongside her twin robot
monsters whose high-tech retractable weaponry look to be attached
with children's toys (everyone knows its Slinky). They are quickly
a final confrontation, the Princess changes into her reptilian form
and uses her lasers and martial arts skills against Infra-Man. Utilizing
his infra-blades, Infra-man severs her head, only to have it immediately
grow right back. Again and again. He finally uses his thunder ball
fists to displace her evil energy.
frees the Professor and Mei-Mei and acrobatically transforms back
into Rayma. He leads his friends through the fiery destruction of
the crumbling palace to safety.
the light of a new day, a boat carries everyone back to the mainland.
"As long as we have Infra-Man," Mei-Mei enthusiastically
states, "the earth is going to be safe."
DVD for The Super Infra-Man (the title's literal translation)
is a special treat for fans that've had to make due with the long
out-of-print cropped U.S. VHS release. The print used is crisp and
bright, with vibrant colors that really pop. The film is presented
in the original Shaw Scope format (approx. 2.35:1), which finally
allows the entirety of the movies production design to be seen.
Audio options include the English dubbed mono soundtrack as well
as a remastered 5.1 mix of the original Mandarin soundtrack (with
optional English subtitles). Special features include a collection
of Shaw Bros. trailers, as well as 45 mins. of promos for other
Chinese action flicks. Photo galleries as well as a text interview
with director Hua Shan are also included.
combines several genres with spectacularly crazy results. It's a
fantasy/sci-fi/kung fu movie that also takes inspiration from Japanese
superhero shows and kaiju cinema. It manages to pack a mind
boggling amount of action into is 90 min running time. All this,
and the fact that it's colorfully campy to boot, makes Infra-man
a distinctive cinematic wonder.